Rochester - City

Last week, I was able to visit Rochester, NY and visit some facilities and programs on a tour led by Janet Dreitlein of the Monroe Housing Collaborative. I met Janet at the Mid Hudson Housing Alliance meeting in the Spring of 2017. 

Janet was a very generous and gracious host. More importantly, she is a market leader in housing for the Developmentally Disabled in New York State. Rochester has two distinct advantages over the New York City, Westchester, and Long Island regions:

  • Price of Housing - The price of housing is much cheaper so they can fit the rental rates into the budgets of the adult DD population that Janet works with. 
  • Cooperation of Agencies - Janet's position at "Monroe Housing Collaborative" (MHC) was created by a group of 3 agencies that came together under a BIP grant to develop MHC. The organizations are working together and actively seeking funding mechanisms to move the Monroe Housing Collaborative forward.

Below are some highlights from "The City" tour in Rochester. 

The cooperation between the Rochester Agencies is now extending to a new shared building:

The Golisano Autism Center will include shared program spaces, a sensory gym, classrooms and therapy rooms. The center will bring together under one roof services for people of all ages with autism currently provided by several community agencies.

Rochester - The Farm

Fifteen minutes outside of Rochester is Hopesteads for Hope, and I previously wrote about Jenny Brongo and Hopesteads for Hope:

Project Financing Case Study: The Disability Opportunity Fund & Charles Hammerman Fund Homesteads for Hope in Rochester, NY

To meet Jenny is to meet a bundle of energy that is inspiring for an Autism parent. Her brother Chuck is in a group home today, and her mission in life is to provide a quality and purposeful life to Chuck. Phase I is day progamming and building out the farm. Next comes community and housing. Jenny is a women to follow and watch, as she is simply awesome and will be a pioneer for Self-Direction in New York State:

In a perfect world, our DD population will be able to share and split time between these two lives of City AND Country. Having gone to graduate school in Ithaca, NY, it is easy to make snow jokes about our friends along the Great Lakes. However, there was a great attitude and beginning infrastructure for the Developmentally Disabled in the Rochester area in this new era. Lots to learn from Rochester as we move forward.